Apt613 has a unique take on the “best” albums of 2017. We’ve looked to the charts published by CHUO 89.1FM to see which records made the highest weekly appearances. Most campus and community radio stations send play logs to !earshot, a website where you’ll find the national Top 50 reported weekly.
N.B. Not every album was released during this calendar year. In several instances, you’ll see a 2016 release which stayed in the charts. There are even one or two much older releases which appear to coincide with the artist’s 2017 concert dates.
- Top local releases of 2017: #50–41
- Top local releases of 2017: #40–31
- Top local releases of 2017: #30–21
- Top local releases of 2017: #20–11
|Title: I Scream Love||Weeks: 10|
|Artist: Blve Hills||Peak: #1|
|Label: Independent||Avg: 12|
Great year for Blve Hills, whose second release of 2017 cracked the Top 10 most played local albums at CHUO 89.1FM. Their earlier album Come On In ranked at #30 in our countdown.
|Title: sweetlow||Weeks: 9|
|Artist: Pippa||Peak: #1|
|Label: Fan Club||Avg: 9.1|
Pippa’s late 2016 album sweetlow was a big hit in winter of 2017 and charted for eight consecutive weeks, peaking at #1 on February 1st. Only the hit record at #1 in this annual list was able to bump sweetlow from the chart’s top spot.
|Title: Dooner Nooner||Weeks: 9|
|Artist: Bonnie Doon||Peak: #1|
|Label: Bruised Tongue x Record Centre Records||Avg: 7.6|
Ottawa’s Bonnie Doon celebrated their first full-length album this year. Dooner Nooner was co-released by Record Centre Records and Bruised Tongue in May, on LPs and cassettes. It’s been about three years since Bruised Tongue released Bonnie Doon EP, a 6-track record which won the band tons of support and chart appearances. Bonnie Doon’s lo-fi surf rock tunes charted for weeks here at CHUO 89.1 FM.
|Title: Under Burning Skies||Weeks: 13|
|Artist: The Souljazz Orchestra||Peak: #1|
|Label: Strut Records||Avg: 14.7|
The international Afrobeat collective went full boogie on Under Burning Skies. Souljazz Orchestra dusted off some 80s synthesizers and drum machines to make their catchiest record yet. It’s been in the charts for 13 consecutive weeks. Make that 20 consecutive weeks from when DJs got their hands on “Lufunki,” the album’s first single. This record is going to keep charting in 2018. Right now it’s at #10 in the national Top 50.
|Title: Dreaming in Stereo||Weeks: 13|
|Artist: Hard Science||Peak: #1|
|Label: Analogkitchun Records||Avg: 13.5|
The album is a collection of dreamwave tracks Arturo Brisindi aka Hard Science has been making in local basements for the better part of a decade. Dreaming in Stereo mixes Brisindi’s analog synth collection and experimental pop music with key contributions by Jason Redmond (bass), Jose Palacios (guitar), Caleb Abbott (vocals), and Olexandra Pruchnicky (vocals).
|Title: This is a Sickness and Sickness Will End||Weeks: 13|
|Artist: Crusades||Peak: #1|
|Label: Countless Altars||Avg: 12.9|
“There is no one making melodic punk like Crusades,” wrote Carson Winter in his review of This is a Sickness and Sickness Will End. They’re a punk band who plays with prog virtuosity and lush post-rock arrangements. Crusades’ third full-length album was out in March ahead of their 13-show European tour this spring.
|Title: Ste-Quequepart||Weeks: 12|
|Artist: Moonfruits||Peak: #1|
|Label: Independent||Avg: 7|
2017 has been a remarkable year for the neo-folk duo. Moonfruits were award winners at Contact Ontarois, were featured live in the first simultaneous radio broadcast of a bilingual show on CBC and Radio-Canada, and released their sophomore album, Ste-Quequepart.
|Title: Gaoler||Weeks: 13|
|Artist: FET.NAT||Peak: #1|
|Label: Boiled||Avg: 8.6|
Recorded in Hull, FET.NAT’s latest record is an unconventional blend of free jazz, punk music and franglais poetry. (All of their records are.) The new Boiled label released Gaoler, a first for FET.NAT whose sound is closely associated with their hometown label, E-Tron Records. Gaoler reached #1 at CHUO and was in the Top 10 for most of 13 weeks in the charts.
|Title: Moving Parts||Weeks: 13|
|Artist: Gianna Lauren||Peak: #1|
|Label: Forward Music x Record Centre Records||Avg: 8.4|
Halifax via Ottawa songwriter Gianna Lauren gave her new release several different names and reordered the tracklist countless times before its release. Whereas her last record, On Personhood, came together in days, Moving Parts took years and involved sessions with her collaborators Marshall Bureau (Jill Barber, Great Lake Swimmers), Justin Nace (The Wooden Sky, Andy Shauf, Jenn Grant) and J.J. Ipsen (Hayden, Paper Crown) at three studios in two provinces. In an interview with Mixtape Magazine, Lauren takes readers through the album, track-by-track.
|Title: Go Gently Into The Night||Weeks: 13|
|Artist: Her Harbour||Peak: #1|
|Label: E-Tron Records||Avg: 6.5|
Her Harbour aka Gabrielle Giguère’s second full-length record dominated the CHUO charts this year. Local or not, it was the only album to go to #1 for three consecutive weeks. Heavy play in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Kingston and Vancouver resulted in a couple of national Top 50 chart appearances too. Giguère’s minimalist baroque-folk songs are distinguished by her voice, autoharp and piano, which on Go Gently Into The Night are complemented by Phil Charbonneau (double bass), Mika Posen (violin), Olivier Fairfield (vibraphone), and Dave Draves (keys) who recorded the album at Little Bullhorn Studios.
#1 chart toppers: So many local releases reached the #1 spot. For reference, only four artists achieved this feat in 2016. However, an Ottawa release topped the chart 29 times this year! Go Gently Into The Night – Her Harbour (3); Moving Parts – Gianna Lauren (3); Dooner Nooner – Bonnie Doon (2); This is a Sickness and Sickness Will End – Crusades (2); I Scream Love – Blve Hills (2); Gaoler – FET.NAT (1); Ste-Quequepart – Moonfruits (1); Dreaming in Stereo – Hard Science (1); Under Burning Skies – The Souljazz Orchestra (1); sweetlow – Pippa (1); Drivin’ – Boyhood (1); Potential Red – Potential Red (1); Insatiable – Nile Groove (1); So Right – Sparklesaurus (1); For Sale – Telecomo (1); Casual Listener – Future States (1); Tunnels – Ruth Grader (1); The Last Of The Who Heads – Expanda Fuzz (1); Matt’s So Called Master – The Dark Plains (1); Potential Space EP – Galapagos (1); Maggie – The Andy Kaufmans (1); Spring Thing Sampler – Debaser (1).
Most weeks in the national Top 50: Under Burning Skies – The Souljazz Orchestra (11).
Most prolific artist: Two releases by Blve Hills appeared in the charts, as did a Potential Red record which Blve Hills is credited with mixing and co-producing. Those are I Scream Love and Come On In by Blve Hills and Potential Red by Potential Red. Honourable mentions go to Mushy Gushy and Potential Red, who each had a pair of releases in the Top 50 most-played this year.
Top label: Record Centre Records released or co-released three Top 50 records this year. Moving Parts – Gianna Lauren; Dooner Nooner – Bonnie Doon; For Sale – Telecomo. Honourable mention to E-Tron Records who released the #1 album of the year and supported FET.NAT whose #3 album is credited to Boiled Records. E-Tron also released The Natural World by H. De Heutz which charted at CHUO this fall.